America's Third World Democracy

    I will admit right now that I am going to bae this article on a message that was forwarded to me by one of my extremely helpful and well read and informed readers.  It was forwarded to him by a fellow in New York and goodness knows exactly where it originated other than it began, reportedly, as an article interviewing a Zimbabwe politician.  Now that I have confessed to this, I will state that the point made here is a very necessary one for every American to learn from and to refocus his view of the world with this as the basis.  We simply are not as perfect nor as ideal as we so desperately want to believe.

    Onward, then.

    Here are ten questions that every American needs to now consider.  Unless we do, we are even less of a nation of ideals and thought than even I would admit (and I haven't been all that impressed over my lifetime).

    1.    Imagine that you read of an election occurring anywhere in the third world in which the self-declared winner was the son of the former prime minister and that the former prime minister had also been the head of that nation's secret police.

    2.    Imagine that the self-declared winner lost the popular vote but won based on some old colonial political relic from that nation's pre-democracy days

    3.    Imagine that the self-declared winner's "victory" was based on disputed votes cast in a province governed by his brother.

    4.    Imagine that the poorly designed ballots of one district, in a district heavily favoring the "winner's" opponent, led thousands of voters to cast their vote for the wrong candidate.

    5.    Imagine that members of that nation's most despised caste, fearing for their lives and futures, turned out in record numbers to vote nearly universally for the "winner's" opponent.

    6.    Imagine that hundreds of members of that despised caste were intercepted on their way to the polls by state troopers operating under the authority of the "winner's" brother.

    7.    Imagine that six millions people voted in the disputed province and the self-declared "winner" finished with a "lead" of only 327 votes, fewer than the expected margin of error from automatic voting machines.

    8.    Imagine that the self-declared "winner' and his political party opposed a more careful count of the ballots by hand and a recounting of the ballots in the most disputed province.

    9.    Imagine that the self-declared "winner", himself a governor of a major province, had the worst human rights record of any province in his entire nation and actually led the nation in state-sponsored executions.

    10.    Imagine that a major campaign promise of the self-declared "winner" was to appoint like-minded human rights violators to lifetime positions on the highest court of that nation.

    Now, imagine that you are asked what you think America should do to restore law and order and a democratic form of government to that nation.  I imagine it would begin with talk of sanctions and trade embargoes and would probably end up in a request to the UN to send armed troops to insure that peace and justice is restored.

    There would be no question but that students in our universities would plead with their administrations to disengage the school from any investments it may hold in that nation as well as to ask that a statement be read in support of restoring democracy to these poor, third world people.

    Citizens of that nation who are living in America would protest in front of any embassy that these violators of such basic human rights ran in America and the protesters would loudly call for a boycott of any corporation found to still be doing business with this dictatorship.

    Finally, you would see lots and lots of talking heads all over your TV, bemoaning the events and demanding that the self-declared "winner" step down and either allow the recounts of the disputed ballots or to call for new, open, and fair elections to be held immediately.

    Well, none of these protests or debates are happening, are they boys and girls?  Of course not!  Where would these voices of reason be heard in a nation that is allowing this farce of an election to be taken seriously?  The media is owned nearly completely by the very same evil people that are ignoring the basic evasion of democracy while pretending that fifteen second sound bites somehow equals actual news reports and that pictures of lawyers going in and out of courtrooms is somehow information that will lead their viewers to form intelligent opinions on the issues.

    All of this is happening right now in America, gentle readers.  As some have expressed to me, you can also see this all as something that really doesn't concern you and yours in your everyday life.  I suppose hiding from reality is a time honored tradition among the poorly informed and those whose ignorance is voluntary.  In fact, it's the only excuse anyone had for voting for Reagan or Baby Bush, in the first place.

    The reality is that the world is laughing at us and our now completely discredited shield of self-declared superiority.  If we are the world's policemen, then envision the Keystone Kops on a national level.  If we are the democracy that all other nations should be striving to equal, then envision the schoolyard bully being laughed at because he wet his pants in front of everyone in the school.  If we are to force our way of life on any other human being on earth, then we had best make very certain that what we offer isn't tainted or diseased by the power of money and public stupidity.

    Whether we like it or not, gentle readers, we are being tested and found wanting by the world's people.  Whether we like it or not, we are showing the world just how ridiculous this nation can behave.  Whether we like it or not, we are proving ourselves the clowns and charlatans that we have been labeled so often by the same third world governments we once attacked as corrupt and whose elections we declared undemocratic

.  The mirror reflects only what is placed before it and our nation's mirror is pretty dirty these days.

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Copyright 12/10/00